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Kathryn Barush, D.Phil.

Thomas E. Bertelsen Jr. Associate Professor of Art History and Religion

D. Phil., University of Oxford, 2012
M.St./M.A., University of Oxford, 2007
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 2003

Phone: (510) 549-5010
Office Hours: Please email for an appointment

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About the Professor

Kathryn Barush takes a cross-disciplinary approach to art history and is especially interested in expressions of belief across a number of religious traditions. She values a contextual and hands-on approach to learning - her students closely study ritual objects and sacred artworks up-close and in person wherever possible. Such objects, especially in places of prayer and worship but also as re-contextualized in the secular space of public museums, offer crucial insights into the study of historic and contemporary lived religion, devotional practice, and popular piety.

Dr. Barush received a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford in 2012 and has held positions as Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and as a curatorial assistant in the department of Prints and Drawings at the Yale University Center for British Art. She is the author of the monograph Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790-1850 (London: Routledge). Shifting the focus to the present day, Dr. Barush's current book project (under contract with Bloomsbury Academic) explores the transfer of 'spirit' from sites to representations through a critical examination of contemporary art (including assemblages of souvenirs, built environments, and reconstructions of sacred sites) created after or during pilgrimages with the intent to engender the experience for others.

Dr. Barush is an advisor to the British Pilgrimage Trust and a member of the advisory network of the Yale Center for Material and Visual Cultures of Religion.


Courses Recently Offered



  • Imaging Pilgrimage: Art as Embodied Experience (under contract with Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming 2020)
  • Art and the Sacred Journey in Britain, 1790- 1850 (London: Routledge; Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel, and Tourism, 2016)
  • ‘The Root of the Route: Phil’s Camino Project and the Catholic Tradition of Surrogate Pilgrimage’, Practical Matters Journal (June, 2016):
  • ‘Swords to Shoes: Pedagogy and Pilgrimage Along the Camino Ignaciano’ (with Hung Pham, SJ), Practical Matters Journal (July 2016).
  • ‘Pilgrimage and Image at Lincoln Cathedral’, Transpositions, Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at the University of St Andrews (October, 2013).
  • ‘Visions of Mortality’, Apollo: The International Art Magazine (January, 2013).
  • ‘Painting the Scene’ in The Oxford Handbook of the Georgian Theatre 1737-1832 (Julia Swindells and David Taylor [eds.], Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • ‘The Art and Material Cultures of Pilgrimage’, Center 33, National Gallery of Art (2013) and ‘The Visual and Material Cultures of Religious Pilgrimage in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Center 32, National Gallery of Art (2012).
  • ‘James Barry, William Godwin, and “the Language of Forms”’, The Bodleian Library Record, Vol. 24 No. 1 (April, 2011).
Digital Humanities Projects

‘A Pilgrim in the Park: Sacred Space in Lewis Miller’s “Guide to Central Park”’, Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Spring, 2013). 


William Godwin’s Diary:  Reconstructing a Social and Political Culture 1788-1836  (Oxford: Oxford Digital Library, Victoria Myers, David O’Shaughnessy, and Mark Philp [eds.], November, 2010); as a research assistant for the project, Dr. Barush was responsible for various entries as well as editing & coding the resource: